The United States and the European Union (EU) have agreed to adopt a united stance against China’s non-market economic practices and disinformation campaigns. Their joint efforts were directed towards finding common ground on topics like artificial intelligence and environmentally-friendly trade. However, discussions were dominated by concerns surrounding China.
At the conclusion of the fourth ministerial Trade and Technology Council (TTC) meeting held in Sweden, both parties issued a joint statement expressing their readiness to address non-market practices together, in a multilateral approach. Specifically, they highlighted China’s policies in the medical devices sector, which have negatively impacted workers from the EU and the US. To tackle this issue, they revealed that they are exploring potential coordinated actions. China has faced criticism for limiting access to its medical devices market for non-Chinese producers and displaying discrimination against foreign producers in public tenders.
Furthermore, the statement emphasized the deep concern shared by the EU and the United States regarding foreign information manipulation, interference, and disinformation. It cited the Russian information campaign surrounding the invasion of Ukraine, as well as China’s amplification of Russian disinformation narratives, as alarming examples of the dangers posed by such activities.
The European Union acknowledges China as a partner in some areas, an economic competitor, and a strategic rival. As part of its recalibration of China policy, the EU recognizes the importance of coordinating with a more assertive United States. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken underlined the increasing convergence of views between the EU and the US on China, emphasizing that neither party seeks confrontation.
Additionally, both sides expressed their commitment to reinforcing civil society and fact-checking organizations in third countries, particularly in Africa and Latin America, where the adverse effects of disinformation are visible. Moreover, they pledged to collaborate with the Group of Seven (G7) nations to coordinate efforts against economic coercion, including addressing trade restrictions imposed by China on Lithuania, an EU member state.
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